The Dunbar Oak Sign has returned!


The historical marker sign for the Dunbar Oak is back on display, following its removal earlier this year due to vandalism.  It celebrates the beginning of Waukesha’s Great Spring Era, and reads:

 “Beneath an oak around August 1868, Col. Richard Dunbar reclined after drinking freely from a nearby spring.   He felt that continued use of its waters healed him of incurable diabetes.  He called the spring “Bethesda” signifying mercy.  He sold the waters nationally and beyond.  Thus began the glamorous time known as the “Waukesha Springs Era,” From 1868-1914.

On July 1991, the mighty 300 year old Dunbar Oak was felled by storm winds.  The following spring, several cuttings were taken from the still-standing trunk.  One graft was successful.

On May 4, 2004, to commemorate Waukesha’s 25 years as Tree City, U.S.A. the “new” Dunbar Oak returned to Bethesda Park where it was planted on the exact site of the original historic tree.  The new tree is a cloned genetic duplicate of the original tree Col. Dunbar sat beneath.”


Read more about the Great Waukesha Springs Era, or learn more about the Bethesda Springhouse and Park.

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